Wednesday, February 14, 2024

These bobbleheads tell a story

As sports memorabilia collections go, the 24 bobbleheads (and one champagne bottle) that sit atop the cabinets in my office are exceedingly modest.

In 2015, a Canadian named Phillip Darling was certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as being the owner of nearly 2,400 bobbleheads. And the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in Milwaukee is said to have a collection in excess of 10,000.

So the ones I've managed to accumulate aren't all that special.

Yet they are special to me, because each one has a little memory or story attached to it.

In most cases, I acquired these bobbleheads by attending a special promotional night conducted by one of our Cleveland professional sports teams.

Nearly half were given out by the Cleveland Indians/Guardians, for example. My wife Terry isn't the biggest fan of baseball, but she was there for a few of those games.

I think my son Jared probably accompanied me on most of the rest.

An additional eight have been picked up over the years at Lake Erie/Cleveland Monsters hockey games. My favorite of those is the one depicting basketball star Shaquille O'Neal in hockey gear (if you look closely at the photo, it's the third one to the left of the champagne bottle).

There were more than 18,000 people in attendance that evening, most of whom just wanted to grab one of the 10,000 Shaq bobbleheads being given out. We were admitted early as season ticket holders, so we were assured of getting our hands on one.

The Cleveland Cavaliers account for the rest of the bobbles, including the two on the far left that honor the late (and legendary) Cavs broadcaster Joe Tait. The golden microphone there is one of two pieces in the collection with no actual "bobble" component to them, but I love it just the same.

Oh, and the champagne bottle? Jared gave me that when he was working with the Cleveland Guardians. It came from the team's clubhouse celebration after they beat the Tampa Bay Rays (his future employer, as it turned out) in a 2022 playoff series. I even have the cork.

Most days when I come into the office I don't even notice the bobbleheads, as they have followed me from job to job for many years and are just part of the scenery. But when I do look to my left and see them, I always smile a little.

That's a pretty good return on the investment of time and effort I made to get each one.